It's bathing suit season! Although this time of year inspires fear in the hearts and midriffs of many, help is here with today's Top Five story. We feel your apprehension, so we scoured the swimwear aisles and found some stupendous suits that practically guarantee confidence for the wearer. Aside from being figure-flattering and fashionable, this crop of bikinis and maillots offer a wide range of styles that certainly improve upon the standard triangle-top, two-piece suit. You can channel a retro starlet in a high-waisted bikini, quench your neon craving with a hyper-colored print, or play it anything-but-safe in a super-sexy one piece.
Whatever you like, it's our hope that rather than letting bathing suits get the best of you, you'll use this opportunity to dip your toes into some of summer's biggest trends. Regardless of where you're sunning this season¬--by the sea or peacefully poolside¬--rather than simply flaunting some skin, why not show off your sartorial sensibilities too?
1. Silence & Noise Bow Bandeau ($48) and Tidal Bikini Bottom ($48)
The fashionable flock's been tying one on lately¬--in a non-boozy way¬--as trendsetters repeatedly turn to bow-embellished pieces. After months of spotting this adornment on girly headbands, darling dresses, and statement shoes, it's a welcome surprise to see the trend's expand to include swimwear. Our favorite suit-able example is a bedecked bandeau top from Silence & Noise; when paired with a South Pacific-style high-waisted bottom, the bow looks sophisticated rather than sweet. We could see Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf pairing this suit with a signature headband and some Lily Pulitzer to create a haughty Hamptons look.
2. Marc by Marc Jacobs Ruffled Up Bandeau Top ($150) and Ruffled Up Bottom ($94)
It's impossible to consider your tanning attire without planning your ensemble for that big Fourth of July bash (or Bastille Day fete for those who are lucky enough to summer in the S.O.F.). Fortunately, a Paris-dwelling American¬--the one and only Mr. Marc Jacobs¬-- provided us with a flirty number filled with patriotic flair. Whether you opt for French or freedom fries, you'll set off style sparks to rival those fireworks clad in this white-hot number. Additionally, the blue and red stripes provide a certain pop, while ruffles offer extra coverage above and below.
3. Shimmi Sophia Lam√© Bikini ($220)
Two LA-based ladies, Alison Renner and Scarlett Chorvat, couldn't find the perfect bikini, so they started their own collection of barely-there suits: Shimmi. Aware that a polka-dot print is the perfect pairing for a teeny-weeny string bikini, the duo created the featured Sophia Lam√© suit. The bold black-and-white dots are ideal for swimwear (spots have been a staple since the beginning of bikini-time) and have recently been the premiere pattern for designers like Henry Holland, Michael Kors, and Phillip Lim. We particularly love how Renner and Chorvat added a little shimmer to their version, so you can shine under the sun in style.
Sunshine Kaleidoscope One Piece
Maybe it's because they're Australian and the sun is always a-shining down-under, but the designers at Zimmermann really know how to make standout swimwear with jet-set sensibilities. We love this one-piece that pays homage to the cut-out trend, but still offers coverage for those less comfortable with visible midriffs. And while we realize it's an investment piece to take to the beach, we prefer to think of it as a sunbathing statement with couture-inspiration, and thusly, well worth the price. However, if you'd prefer to ride the wave of the cut-out trend in a more wallet-friendly way, American Apparel offers two great alternatives: the Maillot-V Swimsuit ($45) and the Le Sport Chic Swimsuit ($42). Both versions are ideal for those fearless fashion lovers who aren't afraid to dive headfirst into this style.
5. Insight Jupiter Sphere Bikini ($82) in Sunny
At first glance, ruffles might seem girly. But Insight's frilled, strapless suit showcases a nouveau-bohemian-tribal spirit that spikes your "nice" with some "wild" (we'd recommend doing the same with your summertime beverage, if you're of legal drinking age, of course). And while we have let our love for ruffles run rampant through our Top Five, the triple tier sans strap is more dance-party ready than the tamer (but still equally as poolside-posh) iteration offered up by Marc by Marc Jacobs. Additionally, we love how the bright and fun pattern on this party-girl bikini offers a taste of neon without dousing itself in said trend. All in all, we vote this suit as our number-one pick for soaking up the sun at the Soho House or lounging rooftop-cabana-style at ABH at the Thompson Beverly Hills.¬--Liza Kaplan